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Copper adparticle enabled selective electrosynthesis of n-propanol.

Abstract

The electrochemical reduction of carbon monoxide is a promising approach for the renewable production of carbon-based fuels and chemicals. Copper shows activity toward multi-carbon products from CO reduction, with reaction selectivity favoring two-carbon products; however, efficient conversion of CO to higher carbon products such as n-propanol, a liquid fuel, has yet to be achieved. We hypothesize that copper adparticles, possessing a high density of under-coordinated atoms, could serve as preferential sites for n-propanol formation. Density functional theory calculations suggest that copper adparticles increase CO binding energy and stabilize two-carbon intermediates, facilitating coupling between adsorbed *CO and two-carbon intermediates to form three-carbon products. We form adparticle-covered catalysts in-situ by mediating catalyst growth with strong CO chemisorption. The new catalysts exhibit an n-propanol Faradaic efficiency of 23% from CO reduction at an n-propanol partial current density of 11 mA cm-2.

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